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A Conceptual Review on Using Consequential Life Cycle Assessment Methodology for the Energy Sector

  • Autori: Quyen Le Luu; Sonia Longo; Maurizio Cellura; Eleonora Riva Sanseverino; Maria Anna Cusenza; Vincenzo Franzitta
  • Anno di pubblicazione: 2020
  • Tipologia: Articolo in rivista
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Energy is engaged in the supply chain of many economic sectors; therefore, the environmental impacts of the energy sector are indirectly linked to those of other sectors. Consequential life cycle assessment (CLCA) is an appropriate methodology to examine the direct and indirect environmental impacts of a product due to technological, economic or social changes. To date, different methodological approaches are proposed, combining economic and environmental models. This paper reviews the basic concept of CLCA and the coupling of economic and environmental models for performing CLCA in the energy sector during the period 2006–2020, with the aim to provide a description of the different tools, highlighting their strengths and limitations. From the review, it emerges that economic modelling tools are frequently used in combination with environmental data for CLCA in the energy sector, including equilibrium, input-output, and dynamic models. Out of these, the equilibrium model is the most widely used, showing some strengths in availability of data and energy system modelling tools. The input-output model allows for describing both direct and indirect effects due to changes in the energy sector, by using publicly available data. The dynamic model is less frequently applied due to its limitation in availability of data and modelling tools, but has recently attracted more attention due to the ability in modelling quantitative and qualitative indicators of sustainability.